Full-thickness rotator cuff tears are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in people over the age of 65. High retear rates and poor functional outcomes are common after surgical repair, and currently available extracellular matrix scaffold patches have limited abilities to enhance new tendon formation. In this regard, tissue-engineered scaffolds may provide a means to improve repair of rotator cuff tears. Electrospinning provides a versatile method for creating nanofibrous scaffolds with controlled architectures, but several challenges remain in its application to tissue engineering, such as cell infiltration through the full thickness of the scaffold as well as control of cell growth and differentiation. Previous studies have shown that ligament-derived extracellular matrix may enhance differentiation toward a tendon or ligament phenotype by human adipose stem cells (hASCs). In this study, we investigated the use of tendon-derived extracellular matrix (TDM)-coated electrospun multilayered scaffolds compared to fibronectin (FN) or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) coating for use in rotator cuff tendon tissue engineering. Multilayered poly(É-caprolactone) scaffolds were prepared by sequentially collecting electrospun layers onto the surface of a grounded saline solution into a single scaffold. Scaffolds were then coated with TDM, FN, or PBS and seeded with hASCs. Scaffolds were maintained without exogenous growth factors for 28 days in culture and evaluated for protein content (by immunofluorescence and biochemical assay), markers of tendon differentiation, and tensile mechanical properties. The collagen content was greatest by day 28 in TDM-scaffolds. Gene expression of type I collagen, decorin, and tenascin C increased over time, with no effect of scaffold coating. Sulfated glycosaminoglycan and dsDNA contents increased over time in culture, but there was no effect of scaffold coating. The Young's modulus did not change over time, but yield strain increased with time in culture. Histology demonstrated cell infiltration through the full thickness of all scaffolds and immunofluorescence demonstrated greater expression of type I, but not type III collagen through the full thickness of the scaffold in TDM-scaffolds compared to other treatment groups. Together, these data suggest that nonaligned multilayered electrospun scaffolds permit tenogenic differentiation by hASCs and that TDM may promote some aspects of this differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2594-2604
Number of pages11
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


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